4 inspirational young women in Oman
As Oman evolved over the past 45 years, Omani women have enjoyed equal opportunities in many aspects of their lives, like in education and employment. They became empowered to contribute to the country's prosperity and to take an active part in its constant development since the beginning of its modern renaissance.
To guarantee further progress, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said declared Oct. 17 as Omani Women’s Day. Many achievements were accomplished since then in many different field and they focused on women from different ages but mainly on young Omani women to help create better future.
Currently, young Omani women are seen working hard and reaching far with their dreams, without any limitations. They're stepping over traditional gender roles and and involving themselves in a variety of areas and fields, from politics to arts, blazing a trail for future generations to follow.
Following are four examples of powerful young Omani women.
1. Basma Al Said, lauded for mental health awareness efforts in Oman
Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, the founder of the Whispers of Serenity Clinic for Mental Health, which is the first mental health clinic in Oman, is considered an icon in the health sector. Basma is widely recognized for her active efforts in raising awareness about mental health in the Arab region.
The multi-award winning psychotherapist and hypnotherapist is looked up to as a source of inspiration for the all women in Oman as well in the Gulf. Basma was recently awarded the “Golden Recognition Award” by the Arab Women Council for her efforts of social responsibility and for the ‘Not Alone’ initiative to raise awareness about mental health in the Arab region. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate for youth volunteer projects, as well as the Middle East award for contributions to society from the GR8! Women Achievers Awards, held both in the United Arab Emirates in May and January, respectively.
2. Maha Al Baluchi, the nation’s first Omani female senior first-officer pilot
Maha worked her way up from flying Boeing 737s to eventually co-piloting the state-of-the-art Airbus A330 in the time where not a lot of Omani women considered piloting as a profession, she was the only female student between all male students in her class. Al Baluchi has graced Oman and Omani women in the skies.
When the Times of Oman asked her about the challenges she had faced when she decided to specialize in a male-dominated profession, Al Baluchi said, “I mostly faced cultural challenges and not many accepted that this job is suitable for an Omani women. When I was young my family thought that I will change my mind as I grew older.” but as she grew old, her family realized how serious she was in pursuing her dreams, they supported her each step of the way therefore, she became the first female pilot in Oman.
3. Fatma Al Nabhani, the region’s only professional female tennis player
Fatma Al-Nabhani is a professional tennis player who has won four singles and four doubles titles on the ITF tour in her career. She reached her best singles ranking of world number 362 on October 2010. In April 2014, she peaked at world number 238 in the doubles rankings.
Playing for Oman at the Fed Cup, Al-Nabhani has a win-loss record of 9–6. Fatma began to realize and exhibiting a glimpse of her massive talent when she won her first title as a nine-year-old, toppling many fancied players on her way to winning the West Asian Championship in the under 13 category.
The talented Fatma won many laurels in her illustrious career, but she became more known when she got a rare reward last year from Nike, the world’s leading sports apparel manufacturer. Nike made a short film about her, it was shot in Oman, it covers her initial years as a player and the rigorous training schedules that made her a champion.
4. Ibtisam Al Salmi, one of the first professional female sailors in the Middle East
Ibtisam started came across sailing when she was a student when she was asked to volunteer with one of Oman Sail’s event; but it ultimately lead to a career change. Ibtisam started as an instructor. Then Ibtisam moved into competitive sailing.
Ibtisam was recently invited to join the only all-female Team SCA crew at the Volvo Ocean Race in Abu Dhabi. She took her mentor Dee Caffari MBE’s in the exclusive ‘Jump Seat’ position for the start of stage three and inshore course race. This is not the end for ibtisam, as she stated in one of her interviews, Ibtisam is now aiming her focus on a sailing trip around the world.
Cover credit: Vector Characters